musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the category “writing process”

sssssshhhhh…be vewy vewy quiet

I’m hunting words.

I’ve been pretty quiet over here in the past few weeks under the guise of focusing on the final few laps of this draft of my manuscript. Really, a lot of mayhem has been going on in my home and outside of it that has prevented as much concentration as I would like, but it is nearing the finish line.

Promise. So if I stay quiet here and around the blogosphere in general, that’s my excuse.

I’m sticking to it.

Thanks for your patience, adorable pics and quotables from my family, etc to resume in the near future.

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things and school

Captain Comic’s birthday evening before Hurricane Irene. 
Pogo sticks are fun.

My head is spinning.

I haven’t been sneaker or school supply shopping yet.

Honey had surgery, and is recuperating at home. Now to wait for official biopsy results. But the surgeon said it looked good.

I had an IEP meeting with Captain Comic and his team this morning for the start of 7th grade. He made it about a third through before claiming, “I am about to have a freak out.” How’s that for self-advocacy?

We let him have a break in his case manager’s classroom while we went over the Accommodations.

We have our old case manager, which we were told at the end of last year wouldn’t happen, so we are extra grateful that he has a familiar anchor.

I can’t get over that Mr. Cynic will be a Junior this year. How……? He informed me yesterday that he is now the VP of the Anime Club. I know he’s still interested in the Writing Club, and he’s applying for jobs and is still trying to put together his band, writing songs, a book, and going to his bass lessons, starting to go to local music open mics…No wonder every time I see him, he’s merged as one into the sofa.

Toots is going into a 3 day/3 year old preschool class this year. She’s an old pro now and asking for swim and ballet lessons.

Captain Comic is asking to get back into a Martial Arts class. It’s been about and year and half since he was a blue belt w/2 black stripes in Tae Kwan Do. Now he wants Karate.

Looks like the usual mayhem is getting started and more mayhemic than it has been before.

And now there’s my bellydancing class on Mondays and Chorus on Thursdays….

That’s okay, I like the mayhem. I just wish writing didn’t drop out of sight so easily. It’s been two weeks since I opened my manuscript to try to finish this draft, and my writing group wants to meet on the first day of school. I’ll have to see how that works for my ability to concentrate.

Happy September everyone!

oh the adventures we had

I don’t even know where to start.

I have a lot of photos. A Lot.

I have a foggy head, an achy back and a lot of laundry to do. A Lot.

I have my boys back, and my memories of jampacked days of hiking, swimming holes, zoos, safaris, caves and old diners and a drive-in movie under a nearly full golden moon. I hear crickets, peepers and cicadas all the time. I see mountain vistas, stone stair cases and rocky trails up and down to waterfalls. I see a natural bridge carved by glaciers through a mountain, and lots of cascades.

I see Toots twirling ballet in the middle of camp, at the edge of a waterfall and wiggling her hips to oldies pumped from 61 year old speakers and finding perfect marshmallow sticks. I see Captain Comic building first fires, begging to just go home please, between swimming and hiking and caving that wasn’t quite spelunking. I see Mr. Cynic pretending to not be interested in anything, while secretly enjoying the facts of long ago Monacan people, weird geological things and bizarre animals. I see Honey setting up camp, grilling, breaking down camp loving the kids, laughing and finally saying, “I love an adventure!” in other words, relaxing.

I still smell of campfires.

I promise I will not inundate you with a family travel slide show over the course of the week, but I will share highlights of the past week over the coming week or so.

Honey, breakin’ the law and putting his feet in Crabtree Falls just to cool off after climbing up and down the mountain.

And somehow finish my book in a two day Writing Camp that my writing group is holding tomorrow and Thursday.

tell it like it is

My life, in a nutshell, or rather two fortune cookies:

reassessed

I can’t rush writing, especially editing.

I managed to accomplish the exact same amount as I averaged prior to last week’s nose to the grindstone post. It was an ineffective way for me to work. I painfully edited one chapter, and less painfully edited a much longer chapter in two long sessions last week.

Today, I decided at the last minute to work at home and read through what I currently have, remove glaring repeats and other flaws, just a little tightening here and there. Mostly I needed to read through the manuscript for the sake of catching myself up and making sure I continue appropriately tomorrow. My mind is muddled with former rewritten details, so that I don’t know exactly what I have in this draft or if I removed something, oh say, three drafts ago, and am still referring to it in this one. That would be bad.

So far, in a couple of hours this morning, I’ve read through the first quarter. I like it better than the last draft, and am having some good edit sparks along the way. Enter ye olde highlight and back space function.

Now I know why I wrote poetry and short stories for the past twenty-five years. This longer stuff is a pain in tuckus. But I like it. Figures.

i won’t come out til she’s done

Social networks have a way of making you keep to your word, and mine this morning was:

assessed i have more chapters to edit than days to edit them to meet my personal deadline. must disappear into the depths of my public library. if i don’t come out, come find me, battered and greasy and gnawing on that giant biography, portrait of diana.

So wish me luck! I’m loading up on protein and carbs right now to make a long session of it today. Signs all over the library read No Food or Drink Allowed. I hope surreptitious chocolate, hard candies and my bottle of water don’t count. Ssssssshh…



distracted and frustrated

This post is kind of a way for me to work out hitting a wall in my manuscript. All I want is to finish it. In my heart, I still love it. But after so many edits, this edit is really a bore to do. In my house, two kids are gone for a month, including the most distracting one. In and around my house is a lot of neglected house stuff, largely due to my trying to focus on the manuscript.
When I try to write at home, even if I have my mother-in-law take the three year old out of the house for a couple of hours, invariably I putz around finding other things to do until, lo and behold, they return, and I haven’t even pulled the critiqued manuscripts out of my tote bag.  Like the day last week, when Toots decided waking up throwing up was the way to go that day rather than out of the house with Grandma. I sank her into the couch with Netflix streaming kid videos, and the next thing I knew, I found myself hacking branches in the yard in 100 degree heat, because that apparently was immensely preferable to actually finishing my novel.
And I had a good session on it the day before when I did my usual Tuesday routine of packing everything up and taking it to the library to edit. Okay, so the next day, off to the library I went, and knocked through two chapters in a fairly painless edit session.
As I write this, I look back over this very morning, noting that, yes, I had an early doctor appointment, from which I left a bit upset, mostly just burnt out on doing the specialist shuffle, so I gave myself permission to see another human being, I mean tea chat with a friend, and then another friend who is back in town visiting from far far away showed up, and finally I trotted myself off to the library. I couldn’t settle in as the place was teaming with people, and then the summer camps came tromping through in droves, so I turned right around, having never even opened the laptop.
Home again, Toots was getting a dose of the one program I don’t let her watch, which frustrated me, because I thought I was pretty clear about that to Grandma, but I didn’t make a stink about it. (Do we really need one more show for her to request immediately and often?) I preferred to focus and to attempt to write during and after lunch, Toots’s nap time, and when Grandma typically goes upstairs for a reading rest of her own.
Well, then I started getting ideas. My, isn’t it a lovely day out there, not a hundred degrees, now that we had a good thunderstorm last night. I know! I’ll go out to the picnic table around the side of the house that has a little privacy and an outlet! I got all set up and touched my black keyboard in the sun – youch! like a stove burner that has been left on.
Trot everything – drink, lunch, boiling laptop back inside, two trips – turn on the a/c in the office, and try to “white noise out” that Toots is not interested in napping at that time. Stare at my laptop screen and start typing this instead.
So what is my problem? Why am I having such difficulty with starting a single editing session? Any session for that matter? The excitement is inside me to Git ‘er Done!  Yet instead, here I am devising ways to rearrange the office so that I can work better, more comfortably, get more organized, etc. Frankly, I have rearranged the place a dozen times, and nothing seems to work, and that box of papers that grows and shrinks but never disappears is still in more or less the same spot – not in the file cabinet – it has sat for the past five years since we moved it to Virginia from Massachusetts. Don’t ask me how many residences that thing has moved from or the decades involved, I implore you! It is my my little hoarder albatross. It’s a smallish box, I swear.
I have little over a week before I retrieve the boys and my mayhem returns to its full tilt, after a camping trip with all the kids.  I have about twelve, albeit, short chapters to go, a bunch of query letters to write and send, and a writing group twiddling their thumbs to see this last draft before I send it out.
Maybe just putting it down where I can see it: twelve chapters in about as many days, is what I needed to do. I sure hope so. Once I get started, I’m good for at least a chapter a session, so now, I just need to do it. Hello five a.m. for the next week?   Any suggestions would be appreciated. 

noise

I’m at the library. I’m driving myself nuts.

I am working on a really tough chapter to edit, trying to condense and strengthen an important scene. It’s a kickball game, a hovering bullying threat, a lot of misplaced emotions and misdirected kick in the head.

You would think it would be easier to write than this. I’ve rewritten it dozens of times already.

Summer camps have let loose their wards, about the same age as the characters I am editing, in the stacks. They wander in small gaggles and pairs, some individually. It’s like they all know I am right here and each has to walk within a foot of my work area.

I nearly gave up and packed it in for home, then I realized most of the noise was in my own head. I am too distracted these days. It’s a painful process to be editing this same chapter yet again. But I read it, and it only works about seventy-five percent. The idea comes across, but it’s a little flat. Until the kick in the head. I really need to build the emotional pressure a bit more concisely so that when the kick happens, it explodes like a ripe tomato thrown at a wall. Figuratively speaking, of course. There will be no murders in this book. But there really needs to be spike of the pressure that has been building through the book up to this point. This kick is a minor pre-release to the main confrontational event. It is a nail in bike tire, not the whole crashing flat that comes later.

I am definitely having a moment of why am I still working on this, but it will pass. It kind of is now, as the summer campers appear to dissipate enough that I can hear the air conditioning working overtime against the heat.

Back to it, Cath, that’s it.

But first, I want to share something I read before I left home today to edit. It’s an inspiring account of personal endurance. Grab a cuppa your favorite beverage and settle in. It’s a tad long, but it’ll do wonders, I promise. It inspired me to stick with this manuscript, to stick out this editing session, to stick out writing.

And that’s the least of the inspiration. This is big Life Stuff. Thank you, Max. Vineman 7.3 2011

walkin the dog

It’s hot.
I walked the dog.

What’s that?

Get in for a closer look, but not too close. Sorry, only had the cell phone, again.

 Egret!

Yesterday, on my fence, a lizard skittered. By the time I got the yes, cell phone, out of my pocket, he was replaced by this dragonfly.
And then I found these Kentucky Wonder Beans under the tangle of vines covering my posts. I found quite a bit more than those. I think I’ll cook them tonight. If Toots hasn’t eaten them all in refrigerator drive-by snacking.
Today, I spent a few hours at the library, editing another chapter and a half. I hope to make more good headway tomorrow. I am making good, if slow, progress. 
Kinda like walking the dog in muggy Virginia mid-July.

quiet & things

Back from camping, this week was mostly much needed downtime. 


My writing group had a lunch meeting after a hiatus period due to travels of each, and surgery of one. We had a logistics meeting discussing where we all were at the moment in writing, how we want the group to function, and dare we invite some new blood in after loosing two members to moves somewhat cross-country in the past year. We all agreed on new blood, some of us moaned about the current transitory state of publishing world, the other members all recently submitted works and are in that sea of rejections and non-responses. I ended up being the cheerleader to keep them all from quitting writing, and thankfully it worked. They are all too good to not be read out. 


One had to remind herself of why she writes besides trying to publish. I not so eloquently put it, “If I’m not writing, I am miserable to be around. Might as well shoot me it the head.” And the rest, thankfully, recognized that in themselves.


Speaking of writing and rejections, I saw a bit of an interview last night in which the author of The Help claimed to have received 60 rejections over the course of three years. Now she’s a best selling author with a highly anticipated film on its way to release. 


So there’s always hope.


I had one good writing session this week. Polished up another chapter. I am hoping to get more in this week, especially while the boys are out of state with their father. I really want to knock this revision out and get it in the same state as my writing group compatriots. Although, if I feel as hopeless as they did before my cheer session, maybe not. Who am I kidding? I want to get the book out of my hands and into the public. And I have other starts and ideas to work on.


It’s quiet. Too quiet. I find it disorienting, though it is what I loved most about my pre-motherhood. I really loved just curling up with a book because I felt like it and no one interrupted me for anything darn thing. Or just going outside for a walk to clear my head. Not that it needed much clearing then. And writing for endless hours because my head had empty rooms to wander around in.


Now I want to be interrupted. Curses.


I miss the boys. I miss my grown up talks with my really perceptive teen. I miss Captain Comic yelling and stomping through the house because I am ruining his life or crushing his dreams because I won’t buy him a real movie camera. Hm, just Googled, looks like that would run me about $67K, used. I would sooner replace Big Bertha, my rusty year 2000 minivan, and the fence. Or maybe try to put in that second master suite to the house.  Or sock it away toward the kids’ college educations, half of one of them anyway. I miss how he always makes me laugh.


Other than that, I have been battling weeds and squash bugs, a Normandy style invasion of which destroyed my beautiful squash plants, again. And Toots and I have been having fun with each other and with friends. 


So this Saturday is an extra quiet one, and I almost – note almost – feel a smidge ho-hum. 

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